For those aspiring for a new perspective in leadership, they need look no further than MnTech’s ACE Leadership Program. 27 tech professionals participated in the ACE cohort this year, two of which were Kim Boesen, a management consultant and strategist at Digineer, and Eric Grose, a technical operations manager at Comcast.

Typically an in-person program, ACE transitioned to virtual in the wake of the pandemic. But that did little to dampen the energy and enthusiasm of this year’s meetings, members and the ideas they created.

“I was really impressed by the way the program was able to pivot and support remote learning,” Boesen said. “I really liked the breakout rooms especially- that was my favorite part: getting to know people. The structure and the content were great and very engaging.”

Learning from leaders
In order to help nurture their success, every ACE member is paired with a mentor, notable influencers within our tech community who volunteer their time and experience to help these next gen leaders succeed. Grose had the opportunity to work one-on-one with Daniel Abdul, the SVP and CTO of Medica.

Boesen was paired with Jacquelyn Crowhurst, a group program manager at Microsoft and a MnTech board member.

“Jaquelyn challenged me to think differently about my leadership style,” Boesen recalled. “She also introduced me to some culture and leadership ideas that have been implemented at Microsoft. It inspired me to focus on continued growth and development as a leader. I really appreciated and valued her insights, experience and expertise.”

Taking the lead
After some initial networking and sessions with their mentors, Grose and Boesen were given the chance to apply what they’d learned. Each were assigned to a small-group project, a unique opportunity that ACE provides its members to work with local non-profits, brainstorm solutions and present their proposals for improvement before the MnTech board of directors.

Boesen was assigned to a project with Lunar Startups, while Grose and his team were paired with PC’s for People, a non-profit dedicated to helping enable low-income individuals and organizations to gain access to and benefit from computers and the mobile internet. With frequent video collaboration sessions, Grose’s team created a refreshing revamp proposal to PC’s website along with an improved social media engagement plan.

I think it was really impactful and, from a team perspective, being able to work with such an amazing group of folks was memorable,” Grose said fondly. “We were a very unique group, I enjoyed understanding how others think and how in depth some would go for the process and project.”

Leading for change
After graduation, the impact and influence of their time in ACE has stayed with them. Boesen made valuable connections through the program and continues to attend networking events with contacts from her ACE social circles, strengthening her leadership impact on the technology sector.

“The program really expanded my thinking in terms of leadership,” Boesen added. “I have many connections from speakers and others in the program that I have connected with. It was a great opportunity to learn from others and network.”

Not long after graduation, Grose received a promotion and is now the Sr. Manager of Field Operations at Comcast. “I can say that ACE had a part in that, along with many other mentors and people along the way,” Grose said. “ACE gave me perspective about Brand and flexibility. I knew about creating a brand but the depths we went into was eye opening and it helped me focus on my Brand within Comcast.”

Now, Grose is building from this experience and looking toward the future as he strives for greater leadership positions and opportunities for change. “First,” he said, “I want to bring some successes to my new role, I want to learn and build in this new space. I also want to bring others along with me and continue to build strong leaders and partnerships. I look forward to making a positive impact on people’s lives and I will enjoy this journey and embrace new opportunities as they come. I commit to learn and be inclusive in all future endeavors.”